Apple Graphics — Little Fish, Big Pond
But Disney isn’t the only major entertainment company doing business with Polley—20th Century Fox, MGM Studios & Casinos and Universal Studios also provide a large industry footprint for the printer. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Nestle and Princess Cruise Lines are also among Polley’s clientele.
Despite the regal corporate stature, Kevin Polley is able to get eye-level with his customers; he fosters personal relationships built on respect, friendship and admiration.
“It’s lunch every day, two dinners a week and a ball game on Saturday. My customers become my friends—the people I hang out with,” Polley says. “Clients are part of our family run company.”
Apple Graphics was born in the garage of the Polley home. His father, Patrick, gave him a Chandler hand letterpress when he was 12. The elder Polley, working for a large advertising agency at the time and frequently entertaining at home, allowed his son to print napkins for the guests.
An ink-drenched 1420 Rotoprint soon found its way into the Polley garage. Kevin needed three or four months to clean it up before producing stationery, note pads, letterhead and envelopes for the agency. That led to jobs such as producing ad reprints for a large toy manufacturer.
Father and son worked nights and weekends on print projects before Kevin took the reins as a junior in high school. Jobs kept rolling in, including ad reprints for a major airline (his brother, Patrick Jr., worked for the agency that represented the airline).
“I was making about $1,000 a week, a little more than my friends who worked at Pizza Hut were making,” Polley says with a laugh.
In 1979, Polley rented a 700-square-foot commercial building, “a little incubator,” the first of five facility locations prior to moving into the current Apple Graphics’ home. Polley brought along his sister, Nancy, to work with him and, as plant manager, she played a pivotal role in the company’s growth.